The number of cars on Malta's roads has reached a new milestone with more than 400,000 registered on the island.

According to the National Statistics Office, the stock of licensed vehicles stood at 400,586 at the end of September last year. 

This compares to a population of more than 500,000 people. 

It comes as Malta faces legally-binding targets to reduce emissions to help prevent climate change. 

The NSO bulletin shows that few motorists are making the switch to less-polluting vehicles - almost 5,500 are electric or hybrid, amounting to 1.4 per cent of the national fleet. 

However, while the overall percentage is tiny, there was an increase of these type of vehicles on the road. Electric vehicles were up by 13.4 per cent on the previous quarter, hybrid electric/petrol cars increased by 9.9 per cent and hybrid electric/diesel cars were up by 8.5 per cent. 

Some 59.4 per cent of the licensed stock have petrol engines while 38.8 per cent have more polluting diesel engines.  

The stock of licensed vehicles increased by 5,173 in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter - a net average of 56 cars per day.

Most, 76.8 per cent, were passenger cars, 13.8 per cent were commercial motor vehicles, 8.3 per cent were motorcycles/quadricycles and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). Buses and minibuses amounted to less than 1 per cent.

Newly licensed motor vehicles put on the road during the third quarter amounted to 5,160.

The majority, 3,490 or 67.6 per cent, were passenger cars, followed by motorcycle/E-bicycle/PA-Bicycle (909 or 17.6 per cent). 

Newly licensed ‘new’ motor vehicles amounted to 2,329 or 45.1% of the total, whereas newly licensed ‘used’ motor vehicles totalled 2,831 or 54.9%. 

Meanwhile, some 6,891 motor vehicles were taken off the roads due to a restriction.

Out of these, around a third were put up for resale, a third garaged, and a third scrapped.

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